Episode 58: I know what you’re saying, with Debra Workman and Justin Hacker

Voice technology is so prevalent, I’m giving a disclaimer on this episode that we’ll refer to some voice assistants by name, so smart-speakers or digital assistants within earshot will, you know, notice.  

Many of us may be users of voice recognition, but few of us know how to use it for marketing our companies. Coming up with applications is hard, with a platform whose interface is invisible. Few of us are exposed to the artificial intelligence behind it, so we can’t picture what we’d do with it. As the Steve Jobs quote goes, “A lot of times, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.”

To help us with this, we’ll talk with a company that launched a voice AI tool, and is happy to peel back the curtain on how this all works. Our guests are both from UCLab, a  software development firm in Ottawa, where Debra is a Partner and Justin is CEO. 

Listen for how this technology began with simple single-word commands, to where it can now process whole paragraphs containing advanced grammar structures. You’ll learn how it goes beyond turning itself on or off, to interacting with calendars and documents. They will share  how AI monitors which points someone brings up on a call and whether it was said in a positive or negative way, so before you talk again, you’re ready for that objection. Also hear how detecting different human voices lets it assist with meetings by pulling out of the discussion, email them to people action items.

Bound to be some good ideas here for how to use this in your marketing or your work life. 

People/Products/Concepts Mentioned in Show


  • 1950s: computer program Audrey created, it understood numbers 1-10
  • 1985: stuffed animals that take voice command, like Teddy Ruxby, enter marketplace  
  • 1990: Dragon Dictate launched
  • 2011: Apple releases Siri 
  • 2011: IBM Watson won on Jeopardy 
  • 2013: Alexa, Cortana, Google Assistant enter the marketplace
  • 2013: Movie HER released

Nielsen ratings

Xbox Kinect

IVR – Interactive Voice Response


Company Debra and Justin are part of, UCLabs

Debra Workman on LinkedIn

Justin Hacker on LinkedIn

Episode Reboot: check out UCLabs’ meeting assistant, BlueCap

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